John Piper, the well known pastor, confuses me. Adrian Warnock, who is attending Piper’s current conference, quotes him as saying “Your God is whatever you find most joy in” and “We deserve to go to hell for not preferring God above all things”. Great! But on the same day Piper tweets “My only hope is The Book” – note the capitals. (To be precise, the tweet is from Piper’s ministry, quoting Piper.) Does this mean that the Bible is Piper’s God? Does it mean that he deserves hell for preferring the Bible to God? He certainly doesn’t deserve my respect as a teacher for this kind of heretical teaching.
Sadly this kind of confusion is all too common in more-or-less evangelical churches, where the Bible is treated as God. We read in it that “the Word was God” (John 1:1), but forget that for John the Word or Logos was Jesus Christ, not the Bible. In fact nowhere in the Bible does the word “word” clearly refer to the written Scriptures, although sometimes it does refer to the gospel message or other teaching from God which is written in the Scriptures.
So let’s stop thinking and behaving as if the Bible is God. It is a book of words from God, and of words of men inspired by God. (I don’t want to get into a discussion here of exactly what that means.) Yes, we can find our hope in this book, but our hope is not the book, it is the God whose good news for us is written in the book. John Piper, you need to remember this, and preach it.